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Anna Magnani!!


Tikisoo
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Anna_magnani.jpg

 

You hear of her and see photos of her and wonder what's all the fuss about?

 

All you need is one movie-ANY movie and she strikes you like a cobra.

 

I just watched L'AMORE on TCM which isn't the greatest movie, but oh Magnani was magnificent and made it very enjoyable. The first segment (The Human Voice) was simply Magnani on the phone with her lover.

What other actress could enrapture the viewer while only hearing half a conversation for 30 minutes? 

The second segment (The MIRACLE) she plays a delusional woman, yet you experience everything she's going through and in the end, experience her faith as real as she does.

 

Not a conventional beauty (MrTiki thinks she resembles Meryl Streep) kind of stockily built with unkempt hair & dark circles under her eyes...she's a good enough actress we see her as beautiful.

 

When I watch Anna Magnani in a film, I entirely BELIEVE it's real, even though I know she's acting. She just puts all of herself out there and by watching, we become part of her story.

 

My very favorite performances are:

 

THE ROSE TATTOO (she benefits by Lancaster's strength)

THE FUGITIVE KIND

MAMMA ROMA

 

I wasn't crazy about THE GOLDEN COACH, but I'm happy to see ANY Anna Magnani film, they are so infrequently available.

 

Reading Shelly Winters' autobiography there was a funny exchange between the two of them over some man. Apparently Magnani chased Winters around a hotel room screaming until they both collapsed in exhaustion & laughter - and remained friends thereafter!

 

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TikiSoo, I would highly recommend The Passionate Thief (1960) an Italian film by Mario Monicelli if you can find it.  It costars Ben Gazzara (who is dubbed by an Italian), Toto and Fred Clark (who speaks English in his own voice).  You will get to see how well Magnani does with comedy in this one.  

I have yet to see Wild Is the Wind (1957) which she did with Anthony Quinn.

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Magnani is amazing in anything, I agree. As for that exchange with Shelley Winters, it could have been about either Vittorio.Gassman or Anthony Franciosa, both husbands of Shelley during the 50s. That must've been.a.sight.

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Tennessee Williams wanted Anna Magnani to play Serafina in the original Broadway production of The Rose Tattoo, but Magnani refused. She did play it in the movie, and won an Oscar. On stage (1951), Serafina was played by Maureen Stapleton. Alvaro was played by Eli Wallach. Both actors won Theater World and Tony Awards, but oddly, the Tony Awards were in the Featured (i.e. supporting) categories.

 

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Anna is also responsible for Sophia loren getting to play the mother in Two Women.  Sophia was originally going to get the role of the daughter. Anna was given the role of the mother, but did not want to do it.  That meant that Sophia was out of a job.

 

But Anna suggested Sophia do it and the rest is history. Oscar came calling.  Sophia Loren talked about this at the TCM festival last year and the interview aired this year.   

 

My favourite film of Anna is The Rose Tattoo.

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Bogie said: I would highly recommend The Passionate Thief (1960) You will get to see how well Magnani does with comedy in this one. 

 

Thanks for contributing your personal opinion instead of reiterating internet factoids.

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Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City (1945) was the very first Anna Magnani film that I saw and she was amazing in it.

Sorry that this is more of a shopping list but I cannot recall enough details of these films to write anything interesting about them but I have also seen these ...

Bellissima (1951) by Luchino Visconti.  Not bad.  

Teresa Venerdi (1941).  Magnani has a supporting part in this Vittorio de Sica film in which De Sica also starred.  Also, not bad.

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Bogie said: I would highly recommend The Passionate Thief (1960) You will get to see how well Magnani does with comedy in this one. 

 

Thanks for contributing your personal opinion instead of reiterating internet factoids.

 

? I have seen Two Women several times and it is my favourite Sophia loren movie.

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Tennessee Williams wanted Anna Magnani to play Serafina in the original Broadway production of The Rose Tattoo, but Magnani refused. She did play it in the movie, and won an Oscar. On stage (1951), Serafina was played by Maureen Stapleton. Alvaro was played by Eli Wallach. Both actors won Theater World and Tony Awards, but oddly, the Tony Awards were in the Featured (i.e. supporting) categories.

 

Tennessee Williams also wrote the role of Lady in his play ORPHEUS DESCENDING (which was a re-working of his earlier play BATTLE OF ANGELS) for Anna Magnani, but she was not comfortable enough with her English to commit to a live performance.

Magnani, however, did agree to play the role in Sidney Lumet's film adaptation, which was called THE FUGITIVE KIND and co-starred Marlon Brando.

 

There is something about the combination of Tennessee Williams and Anna Magnani that creates magic on the screen.

And, by magic, I don't mean something artificial but something that is so real that it seems to be happening, well,  "for real" within the artistic framework of a movie.

In both THE ROSE TATTOO and THE FUGITIVE KIND, Magnani seems to be "being" rather than "acting" and seems to be conversing "on the spot" rather than "saying lines." Amazingly though, she is speaking Williams's trademark poetic prose, not improvising!

There are so many wonderful examples of this "artistic realness" in both movies, but in THE ROSE TATTOO, the scenes that seemed especially real to me were the one where Magnani (as the widowed Serafina) describes to the priest the first time she met her husband and the one where she interrogates the sailor who is romantically interested in her daughter.

In THE FUGITIVE KIND, Magnani (as Lady) makes the scene where she tells how her father was burned alive by the white supremacists seem like real conversation rather than plot exposition. Magnani also seems to be in real distress at the prospect of having to see her former lover (the brother of the character played by Joanne Woodward) again so many years after they were forced apart. And the scene where she actually talks to him! Wow!

This "realness," of course, is the goal of acting, but it is very rarely achieved to this extent. 

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Tennessee Williams also wrote the role of Lady in his play ORPHEUS DESCENDING (which was a re-working of his earlier play BATTLE OF ANGELS) for Anna Magnani, but she was not comfortable enough with her English to commit to a live performance.

Magnani, however, did agree to play the role in Sidney Lumet's film adaptation, which was called THE FUGITIVE KIND and co-starred Marlon Brando.

 

There is something about the combination of Tennessee Williams and Anna Magnani that creates magic on the screen.

And, by magic, I don't mean something artificial but something that is so real that it seems to be happening, well,  "for real" within the artistic framework of a movie.

In both THE ROSE TATTOO and THE FUGITIVE KIND, Magnani seems to be "being" rather than "acting" and seems to be conversing "on the spot" rather than "saying lines." Amazingly though, she is speaking Williams's trademark poetic prose, not improvising!

There are so many wonderful examples of this "artistic realness" in both movies, but in THE ROSE TATTOO, the scenes that seemed especially real to me were the one where Magnani (as the widowed Serafina) describes to the priest the first time she met her husband and the one where she interrogates the sailor who is romantically interested in her daughter.

In THE FUGITIVE KIND, Magnani (as Lady) makes the scene where she tells how her father was burned alive by the white supremacists seem like real conversation rather than plot exposition. Magnani also seems to be in real distress at the prospect of having to see her former lover (the brother of the character played by Joanne Woodward) again so many years after they were forced apart. And the scene where she actually talks to him! Wow!

This "realness," of course, is the goal of acting, but it is very rarely achieved to this extent. 

Magnani's performance in THE FUGITIVE KIND is unforgettable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Holden said: In THE FUGITIVE KIND, Magnani also seems to be in real distress at the prospect of having to see her former lover (the brother of the character played by Joanne Woodward) again so many years after they were forced apart. And the scene where she actually talks to him! Wow!


This "realness," of course, is the goal of acting, but it is very rarely achieved to this extent. 


 

I had to see this again after reading this post.

 

It reminded me how much I dislike Marlon Brando. He fits the part perfectly and doesn't overact (too much) but his smarmyness just creeps me out.

And it reminded me how much I love Joanne Woodward. This may be one of her best roles - as a free thinking, rebellious floozy.

 

Also, I had forgotten Victor Jory was in this. I just had a conversation with my mother about him and that he always played a villian, an oily charactor up to no good. In THE FUGITIVE KIND he is possibly the nastiest charactor of his career.

 

Magnani's scenes are wonderful as usual, there just isn't enough of them. At first you wonder where this little pudgy Italian lady fits into this very southern story, and then she just FITS. It seems perfectly logical she's there. You can't imagine why she's married to Jory and then the story unfolds....

 

While I love Magnani (& Woodward) in this movie, it's just not one of my favorites. 
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TikiSoo, I would highly recommend The Passionate Thief (1960) an Italian film by Mario Monicelli if you can find it.  It costars Ben Gazzara (who is dubbed by an Italian), Toto and Fred Clark (who speaks English in his own voice).  You will get to see how well Magnani does with comedy in this one.  

 

Bogie, thanks for the recommendation. I just saw this and absolutely loved it. Anna Magnani gives one of the best comic performances I've ever seen. The film is very much like Billy Wilder at his best. As a bonus, it has absolutely gorgeous black and white cinematography, which you don't expect from a comedy.

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Bogie, thanks for the recommendation. I just saw this and absolutely loved it. Anna Magnani gives one of the best comic performances I've ever seen. The film is very much like Billy Wilder at his best. As a bonus, it has absolutely gorgeous black and white cinematography, which you don't expect from a comedy.

 

Toto, who was huge in Italy but I had never really seen but in one other film was a revelation.  And Fred Clark in the Trevi Fountain parody was fun too.  And Magnani is brilliant!

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Toto, who was huge in Italy but I had never really seen but in one other film was a revelation.  And Fred Clark in the Trevi Fountain parody was fun too.  And Magnani is brilliant!

 

I know Toto! A fantastic comedian! I want to see this SO BADLY! I'll keep searching for it....Netflix maybe? 

I've even tried statewide library searches and no one has this on DVD. 

 

Has THE PASSIONATE THIEF  ever played on TCM?

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Toto, who was huge in Italy but I had never really seen but in one other film was a revelation.  And Fred Clark in the Trevi Fountain parody was fun too.  And Magnani is brilliant!

 

I know Toto! A fantastic comedian! I want to see this SO BADLY! I'll keep searching for it....Netflix maybe? 

I've even tried statewide library searches and no one has this on DVD. 

 

Has THE PASSIONATE THIEF  ever played on TCM?

 

I don't think The Passionate Thief has played on TCM, but it should.  I caught it on the big screen at Toronto's TIFF Cinematheque a few years ago.  It goes by a few titles like Joyous Laughter.   Toronto's Library system still has a VHS copy under the title Risate di viola.  Sadly all of their vhs' are now going to the dump if they have not been requested in years.  They will not transfer them for copyright reasons and as we know lots of these titles have never made it to dvd.

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